American University
thesesdissertations_2427_OBJ.pdf (14.71 MB)

Prison group dynamics: Political and criminal inmates in Indonesia. A case study

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posted on 2023-09-06, 03:00 authored by Abdul Hamid Awaludin

This study is a case study of Indonesian prisoners. It explores the life of both political and criminal inmates within the walls. Thus, similarities and dissimilarities of their behavior in everyday life within the prison are the main scrutiny of this study. In sum, this study focuses much on the dynamic of group relationships. To this end, I employed a field research method to gather my data by asking 15 open-ended questions to both groups of criminal and political inmates. The outcome is very fascinating. These two group of inmates, in many ways, share some similarities and differences. In addition, they dislike and distrust each other. However, both criminal and political inmates agree with the fact that the guards and officials of the prison are corrupt and power abusers. In the eyes of the guards and officials, both criminal and political inmates are law breakers who need to be incarcerated in order to fix their mental attitude. "We uphold the law and they break the law," said one official. Even though both criminal and political inmates live within the same environment, political inmates are much more able to cope with their lives within the walls than criminal inmates. Political inmates are able to confront their realities maturely while criminal inmates live their lives with high tension and anxiety. Furthermore, the demarcation line between criminal and political inmates also lies in the strong beliefs that political inmates hold. Political inmates are committed to bettering society, while criminal inmates are self-interest oriented and can be considered against society. In addition, political inmates perceive their fellow criminal inmates as destroyers of society, while the latter see the former as the illusionists who did not do anything to improve the quality of life of the people whom they always claim to represent. In the eyes of criminal inmates, political inmates are the elite who think only of themselves and never care about the rest. Overall, my research found that both criminal and political inmates basically live in an environment of anxiety, tension, and fear. One of the key problems is law of the prison that is truly in favor of the guards and officials. This law was enacted during the Dutch occupation, which automatically reflects the attitude of the Dutch regime toward its colony. That is why the inmates live with unforgotten days with unforgiven men. Unfortunately, their grievances or voices are unheard.







Ph.D. American University 1997.


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